‘It’s not what you know, it’s who you know,’ is a common phrase used to describe how you can achieve what you want because of the people you’ve formed connections with. Networking is a low-cost, effective marketing method whereby you meet new people to exchange information and contact details. Network connections can be formed face-to-face, over the phone, on email and for a lot of people, through internet services such as LinkedIn.
Commonly, networking can be used to get you in touch with the right people, whether you’re looking for a career change, a promotion or even to branch off on your own. The business connections you have can make this process a lot smoother and more effective.
- Start today
Start networking before you need to, so that you can form genuine relationships with all of your connections. Having a friendship which is already well established will put you in good standing if you ever need to ask for a favour in the future.
- Connect others
Go beyond thinking what others can do for you and start thinking what you can do to help them. Connect people you meet who might be able to help one another in order to progress. They’ll remember that you put them in touch and will be willing to help you when the time comes.
- Keep in touch
When you make connections or help connect others, don’t forget about them. Check up on how they’re doing and see if there’s anything else you can do to help. Forming strong relationships is important so that you don’t appear self-serving when you eventually approach them to help you.
- Remember to keep track of conversations
It’s important that when making new connections that you listen to everything they have to say – you could even keep a diary/note book of everyone you meet, what they do, what they’re looking for etc. This will help you to help them; it will also show them that you have a genuine interest in their life.
- Use people’s names
It’s vital that you remember the names of the connections you make and that you always greet and introduce people by using them. This shows respect and interest, which are key factors in forming lasting connections.
- Get business cards
One of the most important things to do before you network is ensure you have a business card. They’re smart, professional and will make people remember you. They can also be referred to at a later date or passed on easily to a new connection.